Five years ago we moved our family of five children to the middle of the woods. We have loved watching them grow among all the creatures and fauna of the forest curious about the world around them, adventurous and full of courage.
They thank us often.
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I thought I would share with you the elements of this Northwoods childhood and how you can implement them in your own life wherever you live.
Find a FREE Printable at the end of this post!
Let kids explore the woods. Fallen trees become pirate ships. Moss covered hollows become fairy worlds. Find a nature trail near your home. Bring along your book and a blanket, find a spot where you can sit and read and let them play.
Living on a lake my kids are able to run down and throw a line in the water any time. My oldest son and his friends meet to fish early before school in the Spring and go back out after school. He says the peacefulness of watching the sun come up over the water is the best way to start the day. I think he’s got it right!
Find a pond or lake where you can stop and try to catch a fish. You don’t even need anything special. A line with a hook on a stick found in the woods works great. Use left over sausage from breakfast for bait!
You may have a grandpa, uncle or other special family member that loves to fish and would truly enjoy taking your kids along. What a way to make memories!
Be in Nature
I don’ t like to direct too much of my kids time outside. I love to watch them be creative on their own, but sometimes there are special lessons to learn or crafts to make. Nature scavenger hunts can be a great way to get them outside and observant. Schedule a theme for a day outside or on the trails. Trees, bugs, acorns… There are so many ways to get kids excited. Find some nature crafts here.
Here’s a FREE Printable Scavenger Hunt. Give each kid a brown lunch bag, a list and send them out the door.
I’m a big believer in GRIT, letting kids try and encouraging them to try and try again. One of the most inexpensive ways we encouraged grit was by hanging a climbing rope from a tree in the backyard. We put our inflatable boating tube under it and encouraged them to keep trying to climb it. The first day they could barely do it. We took pictures of their best effort. A few days later some of them could get to the top! We took pictures of this too and talked about doing things we didn’t think possible. They continue to climb the rope, but it is also a fun way to swing over “hot lava” and other creative play.
We try to camp at least once a summer. We are tent people and love to cook out over the open campfire. Setting up a tent in the backyard is a fun way to make camping easy!
One of my kids favorite Christmas gifts a few years ago was their hammocks. From my elementary aged kids to my college kid, they all love to hang out in their hammocks. They even sleep in them when they go to spend the night at a friends. They are easy for them to hang in the tree themselves and get in and out of. The hammocks pack small and are easy to carry.
Your kids can go “mocking” in their hammocks strung up from trees out back or at a local park. Talk about the perfect spot to do their summer reading!!
Building forts in the backyard is one of my kids favorite things to do. Some they have built with sticks from the ground. Some from left over 2 x 4s, a hammer and nails and others with sticks and sticklets.
Kids need the freedom to run and play and make a mess. Getting a couple of scrapes and bruises along the way is part of it.
Don’t have a forest in your backyard? Look at these fun ideas for building ways for kids to play and get dirty.
With over 400 named lakes just in our county many people live on a lake. My kids swim at least once a day in the summer, if not multiple times. When going to a friend’s house they always take their lifejacket along too. Usually they will be swimming or doing other water sports with their friends.
Where in your area can you take the kids swimming? A local lake, swimming pool or YMCA?
Fill your kids with fresh air. Encourage them to spend time outside. Click the link below to print out this “Go Play Outside” FREE SUMMER PRINTABLE.
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